Andy Howard: Brands, get your story sorted

Andy Howard: Brands, get your story sorted

Andy Howard, head of digital at The Village of Useful, tells marketers they need to get their brand story sorted out before attempting content marketing.

Speaking on a panel at Ad:Tech yesterday afternoon, Howard told brands: “If you’re not interesting, be interesting. Get that sorted out. If you’re stepping into this world of content, you need a brand story that needs to be powerful if you want your content marketing it be powerful.”

Citing Redbull as one such company that is highly successful in content marketing, Howard notes how the company has achieved the ultimate aim of content marketing, producing so much good content that they have transitioned to being a publisher.

One fail of content marketing Howard points out is the “perception that content marketing is quick and easy and cheap to do is not always the case”.

Iain McDonald, co-founder of Razorfish, agrees and adds: “Content marketing is a commitment. You can’t just dabble in it.”

McDonald also outlines another fail from content marketing is the fact that many brands try to trick people.

Citing the recent viral video of First Kiss from clothing company, Wren, he explains how many people didn’t realise the video was actually an ad for the company.

“There’s ways to do content marketing without tricking people and being authentic at the same time. It’s not necessarily a risk brands need to take when thinking about content marketing,” he said.

As there has been some confusion as to what content marketing actually is, MC for the panel, Melina Cruickshank, director of Life Media at Fairfax Media asked the panellists, consisting also of Matt Taylor, managing director and founder of The Explainers, and Gordon McNenney, content and communications director at DT, as well as McDonald and Howard, to explain what content marketing actually is.

“It’s everything you can create online,” McNenney said. “It’s different from advertising. It’s about the user’s interests.” He added how some advertising can be seen as content marketing when the sole idea isn’t about purely pitching your product.

Howard also outlined how typically agencies don’t have separate budgets for content marketing, and they often have to take snippets of money from other budgets in order to produce their content.

According to him, some marketers can find it difficult to start content marketing due to these financial restraints, along with the fact content marketing typically won’t see a result immediately.

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